Its a Matter of Life and Death: Thousands of New York Nurses Take to the Street In Threat of Major Strike Over Horrendous Working Conditions Which Seriously Impedes Patient Care with Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN , NYSNA President, Montefiore Medical Center and Karine Raymond, RN NYSNA .Second Vice President, Montefiore Medical Center
The 42,000 strong members of the New York State Nurses Association have been fighting for safe staffing, to keep hospitals open for care, to stop the Wall Street attack on their patients, and win healthcare for all. Now, after years of complaints, understaffing has become the major point of conflict between the nurses union and private hospitals in New York City, as the nurses insist that it seriously impedes their providing the adequate care that their patients deserve. As such, 13,000 nurses could strike this month if their negotiations fail with a group of three major hospital systems, union leaders say. Nurses from Montefiore, Mount Sinai, St. Luke's-Mount Sinai West, and New York-Presbyterian hospitals authorized a strike last week.
Were saying enough is enough, said Carl Ginsburg, a spokesperson for the union. On the bargaining table is an increase in nurse-to-patient ratios in emergency rooms and intensive care units. Staffing levels have reached dangerously low levels, putting the safety of both nurses and patients at risk, Ginsburg said. Sometimes where a nurse should be caring for five patients, shes caring for eight or 10, said Ginsburg. Make no mistake " its dangerous. Safe staffing is about saving lives.